coronal mass ejection

An Earth-Directed Solar Flare Occured This Week And We Didn’t Feel A Thing … This Time

An Earth-directed solar flare occurred on January 23. Fortunately for all of us who rely so heavily on electronics to function in our daily lives, the solar flare did not have much of a punch. Two non-Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMS) also occurred during the past week.

The second January 23 solar flare sent ejections hurling towards Mercury, reports. NASA’s STEREO and SDO spacecrafts recorded the solar activity. The video of the solar flares bursts are quite captivating. Another non-Earth-directed CME reportedly happened on January 25. A YouTube video posted by FlareAware tracks the plasma cloud created by the solar flare.

There are currently four sunspots visible on the “Earthside” of the sun, The Watchers notes. None of the sunspots are emitting flaming activity at this time. Three new sunspots will reportedly be showing in the coming week. NOAA scientists estimate the chance of an M-Class solar flare happening at this time at no more than a 10 percent chance.

Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) have noted that CMEs are expected to peak in 2013. The closer the Earth is to the sun (i.e. summer) the more likely a strong solar flare directed towards Earth could disrupt life as we know it.

As the sun prepares to hit its 11-year cycle peak, both scientists and common folk concerned about the consequences of a maximum solar flare are becoming more vocal. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, NASA recently spent $5 million on a telescope project which offered 165 never before seen images of the sun’s upper atmosphere.

While the images will do nothing to aid our antiquated power grid if a strong Earth-directed coronal mass ejection occurs, it may offer precious hours of warning before such a hit reaches our atmosphere. Time to get home is extremely valuable, but what happens to millions of Americans if they are suddenly left without electricity for several months? The Hurricane Sandy tent camps may indicate that FEMA is not prepared to offer the help necessary to protect a massive population when faced with a natural disaster.

solar flares

The Carrington Event of 1859 is often regarded as the worst solar storm in history. Telegraph wires spurred fires at operator’s desks. The folks of the bygone era did not rely on electricity like we do today. The thought of 300 downed power grid transformers did not factor into their consciousness.

Although a massive coronal mass ejection will not likely cause any physical harm to humans, the civil unrest such an incident could prompt creates the possibility for loss of life. NASA and NOAA experts estimate that a massive solar flare could cause $2 trillion worth of damage.

Depending upon the strength of such a solar flare, modern vehicles could be rendered nothing more than huge pieces of non-functional metal. Are you concerned enough about a possible maximum solar flare to develop at least a mild prepping mindset?

[Image via: The Watchers]